I wonder how different our situation is today, compared with that in Epicurus’ time. In those days the population was small and sparse. It stayed put, more or less, and one knew those around you pretty well, whether you liked them or not. Friendships could be formed very early and could be maintained often throughout one’s life . One knew what one was were getting when one chose a friend.
Since then the population has exploded. Nowadays we are virtually (or in reality) face-to-face with people almost 24/7, and for those in towns and cities we have no hope of even recognizing the faces of most passers by. Physically we see, encounter and work with so many people all the time. They move around constantly, and in many cases one just gets to know someone and they promptly move to Singapore or New York, and may be lost as real friends. What some people call "friends" are in reality acquaintances, and nothing more. On top of all this there is e-mail and the cell phone etc etc. You can be in touch with people on the net 24/7, but to be a real "friend" one needs to do more than phone someone once a month.
So, is it nowadays more important for us to choose carefully people with whom we are psychically comfortable? I’ve not thought this through but the search for tranquility and the constant bombardment of people — do we have to work even HARDER than Epicurus to find serenity in this society? Or am I making the mistake of viewing history through rose-tinted spectacles?
(Topic suggested by D’Appolonia)